Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees – the last days in New York

It is almost the end of Camp. The end of nine weeks working in a group of international women, taking care of girls from underprivileged families. What an amazing summer! We did so many things, went to New York City almost every weekend off but there was one thing left on my bucket list: Watching a baseball game.

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We were so lucky we got tickets for the Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees game. I mean – helloo – Texas!!! It’s been two years since I’ve spent two weeks in Fort Worth but I still own my Texas Rangers hat! Fortunately the game was on our night off and our camp director allowed us to leave in the afternoon instead of after dinner. So we took the train to Penn Station and bought a Yankees T-Shirt for my friend from Austria. Afterwards we took the subway to the Bronx.

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The atmosphere was great but I have to admit, I definitely prefer American Football over Baseball. I mean the rules are quite easy to understand but to be honest- to my mind it was kind of boring after the first 90 minutes. In fact, we had to leave earlier because we needed to be back before midnight but Texas Rangers won the game, that is all that matters! I do not regret watching the game, it was a great experience but I won’t do it again.

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After the campers had left, we had to clean up the cabins and prepare the camp for the next summer. It took us a weekend to tidy everything up and in the evenings we went out to have dinner with the councillors or went to the mall.

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I love Urban Outfitters, even though the clothes do not fit me :D!
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Cheesecake Factory, I think I’ve tried at least six different cakes that summer!

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One last time having pizza with my co-councillor from Berlin at our favourite pizza place!

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Nine weeks of summer camp were officially over, I wish I could go back! But I still had two weeks of travelling left! So stay tuned :)!

 

 

American Museum of Natural History – my last weekend off in NYC

Have you watched „Night at the Museum“? I did and I therefore had to visit the American Museum of Natural History. By the way, this was the last official weekend off we had. It therefore was the last weekend I spent with my co-councilors – time went by so fast that summer!

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Before we headed to the AMNH, we went to Times Square where I bought some drumsticks at Hard Rock Cafe for my brother and we spent some time on the streets of Manhattan and also visited Central Park.

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Strolling around in Central Park

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We arrived at the American Museum of Natural History around noon and getting closer the counter, we realised that it is up to the visitor how much one wants to pay. They have a payment recommendation of $18 but the least you have to pay is $1. There were three girls in front of us who all paid only $1 and to be honest, in that situation, I considered that as pretty rude. They did not look like they were not able to pay the usual entrance fee and personally I think that if you are able to, you should pay the recommended fee, or at least a couple of dollars just to pay tribute to the museum, its staff, its donors etc.

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The famous Tyrannosaurus!

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The museum itself has many different exhibitions, the first one we visited was one about the African continent and informed visitors about wildlife and plants. I could not get this scenario of lions jumping out of the windows at night out of my head. There was also a polar/marine exhibition with a life-sized blue whale hanging from the ceiling. It was stunning!
In addition to all the wildlife on exhibition, they also informed visitors about the evolution of mankind and demographic change, it was super interesting!
Last but not least we went to the dinosaur and fossil segment and it was really breathtaking, imagining that these creatures actually existed and ran around on the planet. I can highly recommend the AMNH to EVERYBODY! Kids will love it, you will see tons of dinosaur skeletons, you will learn a lot and I promise- it will not get boring!

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Kale, Salad, Quinoa, Falafel, Avocado and more!

In the evening, before heading back to Long Island, we went to Apple Bee’s. Unfortunately we were not really into their menu and therefore went to another little salad bar/deli and got some nice salad quinoa falafel bowls. It was delicious but I sadly forgot the name of the place…For desert we went to M&Ms world and got our personal M&M colour analysed. I am green! It was a fun experience but I do not recommend buying M&Ms there, it is unbelievably expensive!

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Good night New York City!

I definitely enjoyed my last weekend in Manhattan. Now there is only one activity in NYC left that I have not already talked about- so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!
xx, Sophie

How I fulfilled my Dream and went to Yosemite National Park, CA

I’ve been waiting for this for years. Yosemite National Park has been one of the greatest travel destinations for me since I got in touch with the work of Ansel Adams, a landscape photographer who shot many great landscape photographs.

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Half Dome, on my way to the campground

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I think it was in 2012 when my mother told me about Ansel Adams‘ work. I was thirteen years old and became really interested in photography and cameras when she introduced me to his photographs.
It didn’t take me long to find out about the National Park in his pictures.
Big granite monoliths, rocks so high your neck will hurt the longer you watch their summit, but definitely worth it!

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Half Dome

For years, Yosemite National Park has just been an unapproachable-seeming dream, until the day my Ballet teacher wore a Shirt from Yosemite in class and I almost couldn’t believe her when she told me she went there. That was in 2016 and since then I knew:
One day I will go there, one day I will see Half Dome, El Capitan and the Tunnel View with my own eyes.

Two years later, I applied for the Camp America program, got hired as a camp counsellor and decided to travel to San Francisco and Yosemite, even if I had to do it alone.
So I booked a campground, deciding I would travel there, no matter what.

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My preparation mainly included bringing a tent, which was far too big since I was hoping I would find people in my summer camp who want to join me, and a sleeping bag.
When it turned out that nobody would join me on my little four-day-adventure, I got a bit scared, since you need to take a subway, a train and a bus to the park and my campground was not in Yosemite Valley, but a 30 minute bus drive away.
To be honest, I almost quit, since I was by myself and I had to carry everything by myself and didn’t know where to leave my luggage in San Francisco.
However, I was too committed and decided that these little travel issues would not let me wait another three years till I would come back and try again.

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So I got up at six in the morning, took the subway, took the train, took the bus, waited three hours in Yosemite Valley for the bus to take me to the camp ground and finally arrived around six at Crane Flat Gasstation.

The camp ground was a five minute walk from the gas station and when I walked down the road, I realised that this campground was not really supposed for people without a car. The ranger at the entrance was a lovely woman who was obviously amused that a 19 year old girl with only one Carry-On back pack (my tent was inside, as well as my sleeping bag so I was actually just carrying one backpack) was checking in.
She asked me if I would, at any point, have a car and I answered I wouldn’t.
Smiling, she handed me my paper hanger with my booking number, showed me on a map where my camp space was and added „You don’t need to take the map, it’s probably annoying to carry around, you will find the spot without it“ and I just thought: ‚That lady clearly understood my packing issues :D!‘

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-day of arrival-
to be continued…

 

PS: Some of these pictures where taken during the bus drive to the campground, which explains why some of them are a bit blurry and have reflections in them. Additionally, I was not able to take the pictures with my reflex camera since it broke at the beginning of the summer. I took most of the photos with a bridge camera and also used my phone.

Nine Weeks of Summer Camp in Long Island, NY

Camp is officially over- and I am officially sad. I had such a great summer here in Long Island, I met great women and made many friends. Last year in December when I was in Australia, I made the decision to apply for Camp America and turned down an internship in Berlin for it. At that time, I wasn’t really sure if that was the right decision and I feared I could regret it. Looking back now, it was the best thing to do to end my gap year.

My camp is a camp for underprivileged children from Long Island and the board works the whole year to set up the camp. They do a lot of fund raising, they run a thrift shop and more in order to give children in need the opportunity to spend two weeks in a free summer camp.

Camp America has many different camps in their program and some private camps are really „exclusive“ and only quite wealthy people can afford a placement at a summer camp for their kids in those camps. Since the gap between rich and poor is growing in Long Island and everywhere else, I really appreciated the work in my camp because I feel like I’ve done something good.

Working with children can be exhausting, but very rewarding at the same time. I loved all the kids I had in my cabins and even though there are always some issues with some campers, you still learn to worship the work with kids and you learn from every problem you’ve dealt with. I had so much fun this summer and now I am laying in my bed, realising that this will be the last night I’m sleeping in a wood cabin with nets instead of windows and bunk beds. I can’t believe it and I don’t want to leave….

However, we had lots of fun in Long Island, it is such a great place with so much to do. I will definitely write a post about the area where I stayed. If you ever come to NYC, take a LIRR Train from Penn Station to Long Island- it’s definitely worth it!

The last picture in this post shows the little beach near our camp, where I occasionally went for a run in the morning- it was so beautiful!! The beach pictures were taken on a beach festival at Long Beach where we went on our first off weekend. It was such a great experience because we sat in the sand at the beach right next to the ocean, listening to live music and eating food truck-food. There was also a firework above the water at night and it was literally the best firework I’ve ever seen! We loved it ♥️

I had a great time, but life must go on. I will fly to California tomorrow and I am super excited. We’ll see…♥️

Thanks for reading!

xx, Sophie

Quick Update: Camp and New York City

Hello everybody,

I hope you are enjoying your summer at the moment and that the weather is good. In Long Island the weather great, even though it gets quite humid here and we sometimes have a 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) which is a lot when you are running around the whole day and do activities with the kids.

My third week in the United States has just begun (this blogpost will probably be published a bit later) and it is great so far. We had orientation for one week and the campers arrived the second week. We are a small camp in comparison to other camps in the United States, some of them have up to 7000 campers each summer. During orientation we prepared everything for the campers, for example we planned activities, games and different sessions, but we also had First Aid and CPR lessons. Additionally, we talked a lot about child behaviour and how to cope with difficulty situations, trust me – there will be difficult situations. It might depend in what kind of camp you are, just be prepared.

However, I can already tell that working with kids is an amazingly rewarding experience. One moment you think you are too strict and then suddenly they hug you, or draw you something and tell you that you are their favourite councellor. At the moment I feel like I am in a bubble because I don’t really feel like I am on earth right now. I am somewhere else, a save place that only exists to create great summer memories. It is amazing.

Yes, I am also exhausted sometimes. Coping with difficulties is sometimes really hard and sometimes I worry that I am not good enough for this job. But this is fortunately not often the case and when it happens I try to turn my thoughts on standby and focus on the kids, I am responsible and I want them to have a great time. Camp is about the campers, they are the most important piece in this great puzzle and it’s amazing to see how they change during that time. Kids who are bullied in school suddenly smile and laugh a lot. Introverted children suddenly become the loudest. It is a great community and I get up every morning with a smile on my face and am excited for the new day.

However, we also have off weekends when one sessions ends and the other is about to begin. On those weekends people go visit other places, which we did on our first day off. We took a train to Penn Station in the middle of Manhattan and spend our day in NYC. I know it sounds so stupid but it felt like coming home. There is no city like New York City. People from all around the world walk on these streets, it is always busy and overwhelming. This day we ran around a lot and visited some tourist attractions and even went to a thrift store in Soho. It was great! We don’t really have nice thrift stores in my town but the ones I visited in Amsterdam, London and NYC were amazing! Our day off was nice 😊

However, something happened: my camera broke. After six years of picture taking, something in the body is not working, and nobody can tell me what it is. I will have to wait till I’m home and figure something out for my time in the states. It’s sad but it can happen. We will see…

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my NYC iPhone pictures 😊

Have a good week!

Sophie

Field Trip – Ogunquit, ME

Welcome back to the United States of America! I already talked about New York City a couple of weeks ago. In 2015, I spent two weeks in Massachusetts and in New York.
I stayed with a host family near Boston for ten days and went to High School with my host sister. It was very interesting to go to class with her, since the school system is partly completely different in comparison to the German school system.
However, we were a group of German students and beside going to school with our host brothers and sisters, we also visited certain museums in Boston and also explored the city.
Additionally, we went on a field trip to Maine which is upstate Massachusetts.
Today, I will be showing you some pictures of Ogunquit, a small town which is part of the Portland metropolitan area. In the indigenous Abenaki language, „Ogunquit“ means „Beautiful place by the sea“ – Nomen est omen
The weather was bad, it was april.

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The bus driver opens the doors of the great yellow school bus and a fresh breeze is blowing outside. I tighten my scarf and look around. It is foggy and cold.
What I see is stunning.

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The little town reminds my of Twin Peaks, a television programme from the nineties where a young woman was murdered and found by the river „wrapped in plastic“.
Even though Twin Peaks was filmed near Seattle in Washington, the moody and gloomy atmosphere is the same.

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Mist is lying on the water, it’s so foggy that I can barely imagine that Ogunquit is located directly by the Atlantic Ocean. Yellow and grey houses perfectly match the grey troubled water and the yellow-orange grass.

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I take a deep breath, the air tastes salty and my cold fingers can’t stop taking photographs of the sea, the houses and the empty streets. I’m freezing, my body wants to go back to the bus but my soul yearns for more. More fresh air, more deep breaths. 

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My feet are cold but I won’t stop walking down the abandoned streets.
I wonder how this beautiful place may look in summer, when people are coming out of their houses, embracing the beauty of their town and the shore.

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I fell in love with this town.

 

Have a nice week,
Sophie

New York City #3 – „If I can make it there I’m gonna make it anywhere“

Start spreading the news
I am leaving today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York

These vagabond shoes
Are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

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I wanna wake up, in a city
That doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap

This little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York

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If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York

New York, New York
I want to wake up in that city
That never sleeps
And find I’m hey number one
Top of the list
King of the hill
Hey number one

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These are little town blues
They have all melted away
I’m gonna make a brand new start of it
In old New York
And I
If I can make it there
I’m gonna make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York, New York

-New York, New York by Frank Sinatra

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This song by Frank Sinatra is one of my favourites!
„If I can make it there I’m gonna make it anywhere“
I wish I could live in NYC one day, walking down the streets of Manhattan everyday, having dinner in SOHO, meeting my friends for lunch and doing window shopping on fifth avenue.

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Statue of Liberty, smaller than expected…

These pictures were taken on the Staten Island Ferry. I can highly recommend taking this Ferry, since you don’t have to pay for it and the view is stunning!

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This post is not about the writing, more about the impressions.
I hope you enjoyed it anyhow!

Xx, Sophie

 

 

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